Lets face it, the world today works on a grab-and-go system where plastic bottles are utilized for their ability to easily transfer water from point A to point B, whether that point B is school, work, or the gym. Water is seen as the miracle hydration liquid with zero calories. Something everyone can carry around guilt free. And with the manufacturing of plastic bottles, water in a bottle becomes the handy solution to the fast-paced, health conscious population of today.
But we all know the havoc these plastic abominations can cause to our environment. Thanks to Al Gore, terms like Global Warming and ozone layer are common subjects today. Many of you, to offset the problem of plastic bottle waste, have set yourselves to the habit of refilling the bottles. But before you head to the nearest water fountain or sink and refill that bottle, there is something you should know.
A hard plastic called polyethylene terephthalate (PET) makes the reuse of plastic water and soda bottles dangerous since the structure was never made to be reused on any level. So those who like to refill their water bottles out of habit are taking a dangerous risk to their health. Essentially, your mouth leaves behind a filmy substance that is composed of bacteria (thanks to back washing). The bacteria, if not destroyed by proper cleaning, will multiply in size and cause symptoms of stomach aches, head aches, fatigue, fever, and if a person has a weak immune system, the bacteria in the bottle enables other worse bacteria to grow and cause diseases.
However, with this information, if you still insist on refilling your bottles because youre feeling pretty confident you wash properly, dont. The best way to clean a water bottle is not simply to rinse and repeat with hot water. If this is done, the synthetic hormone bisphenol-A (BPA) is released into the bottle from the plastic. Although not proven to have lasting harmful effects with small amounts of exposure, there has been case studies linking BPA to heart problems, diabetes, sexual dysfunctions, and hyperactivity.
Solution in sight?
Despite the obvious convenience the water bottle creates and the refreshing taste it harbors, the plastic bottle when reused is linked with health issues. So that great and irresistible taste you cant get anywhere else might actually be at the cost of your health (not to mention the health of the planet). The easy solution is purchasing a safe reusable container to carry your water in. Many of these drinking containers are in the same shape of a water bottle and come in all different shapes and sizes.
And if you dont like the taste of your bought and paid for tap, Brita has affordable water filters that join onto your faucet at home or in the office. The water purified again by Brita resembles that of a water bottle's taste.
So next time you're in the grocery market, cruising down the water bottle aisle, think about the mileage you could get on one reusable container versus a 24 pack of Aquafina.
Photo: shrff14 via Flickr.